Southeast Asia rainforests constitute for approximately 20% of forest cover with the richest biodiversity in the world. What the region is also known for is its alarming rate of deforestation. It's projected that the region has already lost more than 50% of its original forest cover and that some of the primary rainforests in the region will be lost by the year 2022 along with the loss of wildlife habitats. Deforestation is a major problem in the region with Indonesia leading the charts for forests clearing, followed by Malaysia, Vietnam, Cambodia and Thailand.
With over 600 million people living in the region, the pressures on that biodiversity are severe. Due to the increasing human population, the need for urban spaces has increased, thus governments have taken measures to clear more land in order to fulfil this growing demand.
The forests are known to be a rich source of timber suitable for a number of purposes, seeing as it is filled with tropical rainforests and diverse ecosystems. These forest resources are used as materials in the form of lumber products such as furniture, plywood, paper and pulp, or are used for energy in the form of wood fuel. Due to this, countries are now faced with the problem of depleting their natural forest resources to meet global demands for timber.
Other causes include illegal logging and land clearing for agricultural activities. Governments are meant to regulate the production and the trade of timber products within an economy. However, there are always those who violate these laws by harvesting timber from protected areas or logging over the legal limit. Illegal logging endangers these forests that host a colossal number of valuable species and it also lowers prices of timber around the world. This will then affect companies that actually abide by these laws and poorer communities could be left vulnerable to being exploited.
There are many things we can all do to help protect the rainforests:
1. Reduce your consumption of palm oil, one of the largest culprits of deforestation.
2. Southeast Asia has a huge tourist market, and there are many environmental tourism initiatives to help protect the rainforests.
3. Reduce paper and wood consumption. Buy recycled or sustainable where you can. Re-use or restore furniture.
4. Hold businesses accountable. Try to shop from ethical businesses where you can.
5. Support rainforest initiatives.
Carrying out some of the actions mentioned, you will be helping the ASIAN & OCEANIA RAINFORESTS. Please make a pledge to yourself to help in your own way.